With the world political situation not getting any better, world economics going downhill for the last few years and pop culture digging itself into new lows on an hourly basis, you would think that, of all people, Alec Empire would have something to say about it. And likely he does, but the former Atari Teenage Rioter has chosen to stay mum about it on his latest solo release, "The Golden Foretaste Of Heaven." In conjunction with Eat Your Heart Out, his newly formed record label, Empire brings forward lyrics of complicated relationships, even more complicated sex and a sound that is less digital hardcore and more simply electronic rock.
"As if she could steal a piece of my glamour," Empire quips on "Ice" over throbbing pulses before setting his sights on "Berlin motherfuckers," challenging them with the infectiously squeaking beats of "Robot L.O.V.E." Confident and chaotic, "On Fire (THV Sessions)" offers a pounding industrial heaviness but Empire never brings to mind Lou Reed more than on the seven minute long "1000 Eyes," what with the track's slow build up and Empire's essentially trademark spoken vocals.
As much as some things change, others remain the same. Empire makes "The Golden Foretaste Of Heaven" sound different: with rhythms to make your body move (as opposed to thrash) and clear cut melodies and unforgettable hooks. But it's the tones of chaos, noise and power which still manage to reveal themselves from time to time. For that reason, "The Golden Foretaste Of Heaven" can't really be measured with the same ruler as Empire's previous releases -- and that's part of the appeal.